Hundreds of law students across the country who expected to extern this semester at federal agencies now find themselves in limbo amid the nearly three-week-old partial government shutdown.

Some are waiting to see whether their agencies reopen or return to full operations in time to collect academic credit for the spring semester, while others are rushing to line up alternate externships at nonprofits and non-governmental agencies, or federal agencies that aren’t affected by the shutdown, according to externship coordinators at law schools that send students to the nation’s capital to gain real-world experience. Still other students have abandoned the externship plan this spring and are taking classes instead, since the semester began Monday at many campuses.

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